Testing It Up » August 2011

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Health & Wellness

More Tips on Keeping Food Safe During a Hurricane

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In a previous post, we shared tips from the Food and Drug Administration, regarding how to keep food safe when the power goes out during a hurricane. We now share a few more. When the power goes back on, remember to do the following things:

• Check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer, especially if power has been out for several days. A thermometer reading of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below indicates that the food in the freezer is safe to re-freeze.

• If there is no thermometer, examine each package of food to determine safety. If the food in the package still contains ice crystals, then the food is still safe. Remember NOT to taste the food to determine safety.

If the food got wet, take note of the following things:

• DO NOT eat food that got wet. Flood water may contain sewer overflow or feces from the ground, which may carry dangerous diseases. This includes foods packed in plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth, and similar containers, as well as food and beverage stored in screw-caps, snap lids, crimped caps, twist caps, flip tops, and home-canned foods.

• Metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils that came in contact with flood water should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water, and sanitized by boiling in clean water or immersing them in 15 minutes in a solution that consists of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach for each gallon of drinking water.

• Get rid of wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers.

• Wash and sanitize commercially-prepared foods stored in undamaged all-metal cans, shelf-stable juice, or seafood pouches. Labels that may harbor bacteria should be removed.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Lenny Dykstra Charged with Indecent Exposure

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Lenny Dykstra, former outfielder for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure in Los Angeles City on Tuesday.

If convicted, Dykstra may spend six months in jail, and pay $1,000 per count in fines. This was revealed by LA prosecutors.

According to LA City Attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan, Dykstra is accused of exposing himself to six women, who answered an ad for a housekeeper or personal assistant, which he placed on Facebook.

The recent charges only add to existing charges that the former athlete has been ordered to stand trial for. The charges include 25 counts of grand theft auto, attempted grand theft auto, filing false financial statements, and possession of controlled substances. The last charge stemmed from an investigation into a scheme involving Dykstra; a search of his home had yielded cocaine, ecstasy, and a synthetic growth hormone.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Substance Abuse

Commonly Abused Meds: Amphetamines, Methylphenidate and OTCs

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It is now a known fact that drug abuse has crossed over from illicit substances into legitimate medication, where some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are now being used for purposes other than those which they were developed for.

Amphetamines are stimulants that raise alertness and energy. These medications are usually prescribed to treat narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression, for patients who do not respond to other treatments.

Among the drugs in this group are the ADHD medications Dexedrine and Adderall. These drugs are usually abused by people who would are looking to experience euphoria. Among its aliases are “bennies,” “black beauties,” and “speed.”
Unfortunately, abusing these drugs carries associated risks, including fast and irregular heartbeat, reduced appetite, heart failure, nervousness, and insomnia.

Another stimulant, which is found in the ADHD drugs Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, and Methylin, is methylphenidate, also known as “MPH,” “R-ball,” “Skippy,” “the smart drug,” and “vitamin R.” Among its known risks are having an irregular heartbeat, and the possibility of suffering from cardiovascular failure or lethal seizures.

Beyond prescription drugs, however, there are people who abuse the more readily-accessible OTC drugs. These include dextromethorphan (DXM), also known as “Orange Crush,” “Triple Cs,” and “Skittles,” which is the active ingredient in OTC cough and cold medicines. Large doses of DXM may lead to impaired judgment and euphoria.

Another commonly-abused OTC is pseudoephedrine, which is commonly found in cold medicines. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in the production of methamphetamine (meth), hence, there is a limit to the number of drugs with pseudoephedrine that could be purchased at a time.

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Teen with Symptoms of Amoeba Infection Dies

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A teenager, who exhibited symptoms of amoeba infection after swimming with her family, has died.

Lt. Jeff Taylor, a Brevard County firefighter, revealed that 16-year-old Courtney Nash passed away at around 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday. Taylor said that the family had asked him to release news of her passing on their behalf.

Courtney Nash, 16, may have been exposed to dangerous amoeba while swimming in the St. Johns River on a family outing, based on suspicions of doctors. She was taken to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children days after swimming in the river, where she was found to be in critical condition.

Officials revealed that the teen suffered from symptoms similar to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), an infection caused by microscopic amoeba, mostly the Naegleria fowleri species. These amoebas are usually found in the upper layer of sediment in lake bottoms, and ponds with mud floors. They are also found in swimming pools and hot tubs that are not maintained well.

The Brevard County Health Department has issued a warning to avoid swimming in lakes around the county, due to a high risk of infection.

The Health Department also has the following tips, in order to avoid amoeba infection:

1. DON’T swim or jump into warm, stagnant, fresh water, such as ponds or warm water discharge pools, or unchlorinated swimming pools.
2. DON’T swim in polluted water.
3. DON’T swim in areas posted as “No Swimming.”
4. DO hold your nose, or use nose plugs when jumping or diving into water.

Symptoms of amoeba infection, according to a health advisory for the county, include headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and bodily control, seizures and hallucinations.

Alcohol Testing Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Autopsy on Rocker Jani Lane Deemed Inconclusive

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An L.A. County coroner’s official has revealed the results of an autopsy on former Warrant singer Jani Lane, who was found unresponsive by paramedics in a hotel room in Woodland Hills.

The autopsy was found to be inconclusive. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter revealed that the cause of his death may only be learned after the results of toxicology, as well as other tests, are available, which may not be ready until after two months.

A half-filled bottle of alcohol, as well as prescription medication, were found in the room where the rocker was found dead. Police officials say, however, that they did not find any indication that Lane had committed suicide.

The heavy metal singer reportedly had trouble with alcohol. Obi Steinman, Jani Lane’s manager, had commented that his death may be alcohol-related, despite the fact that no official cause of death has been released by the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office.

Jani Lane wrote such songs as Down Boys and Heaven, as part of Warrant. The band is best known for the track Cherry Pie, written by Lane.

He was born as John Kennedy Oswald, in Akron, Ohio, on February 1, 1964. His exposure to music began at a young age, receiving his first drum set at the age of 6. By 11, Lane was already playing in clubs, and was already playing professionally with a band at the age of 15.

Los Angeles Health Screening

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Amy Winehouse Photo Used to Sell Drugs

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Drug dealers in Brazil conceived what they may have thought as a brilliant marketing ploy: cash in on the death of British songbird Amy Winehouse, by using her image to sell drugs.

Brazilian police officers found bags of cocaine during a raid in the town of Manginhos, in the northern area of Rio de Janeiro. The raid yielded several bags of cocaine, which had a photo of the singer inserted inside, but was labeled “Amy House.” They also found several bags of marijuana and crack cocaine. Aside from Winehouse’s photo, slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was also used by the drug dealers.

Winehouse has had trouble with drugs and alcohol, and these, at times, outshone her talent. In her single “Rehab,” Winehouse sang about her issues, as well as her reluctance to undergo treatment.

Lieutenant Colonel Glaucio Moreira, who led the police raid, shared: “Since there is so much information in the media that she was a drug user, the traffickers have taken advantage of this to market their cocaine.”Aside from drugs, police also found grenades and automatic weapons. The bags of cocaine with the picture of Winehouse in front are being sold between 10-25 reals, which are about $6-16.

Rio is set to host the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Over the past three years, Rio authorities have been pushing through the slums, or favelas, in an attempt to ensure that at the time of the two big sporting events, there will be no crime and violence.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

300 Bags of Heroin Found at Traffic Stop

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You’ll never know what you will find in a traffic stop – that is, if you are someone who has something to hide. On one such day, a Hartford resident found himself encountering two police officers, who happened to conduct a routine check; they ended up finding an alarming amount of heroin at a traffic stop on North Main Street, during Sunday traffic.

The routine stop was conducted by East Hampton Police Officer Matthew Hanlon, in the Sears Park area.

Multiple offenses were found by officers in the occupants of the vehicle. First off, they found 40-year-old Mildred Cuascut was operating without a license. They then found 300 bags of heroin.

In possession of the heroin was Luis Rodriguez, also from Hartford. Rodriguez was in the front passenger seat and was found in possession of the 300 bags of heroin. Both were Rodriguez and Cuascut were taken into custody by Hanlon, with the assistance of Officer David Gionfriddo.

Rodriguez was charged with possession of narcotics and possession with the intention to sell. He was released from custody after posting a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Middletown Superior Court on August 16. Cuascut, on the other hand, was also wanted for probation violation by Troop H in Hartford. She was charged with probation violation, as well motor vehicle charges. She has since been released on $3,000 bail, after the bail committee recommended the reduction of her bond, which had initially been set by Judge Susan Handy at $10,000.

Substance Abuse

Researchers Working on Date Rape Drug Sensor

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One in six women may experience sexual assault in her lifetime, according to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), and 73 percent of those who do become victims know their assailants.

Among the situations that victims may find themselves in is date rape, and a product has been developed to help prevent women from falling into this trap.

Israeli scientists shared that they were able to develop a device that has 100 percent ability to detect two of the drugs most commonly used for date rape. Based on outward appearances, the device would appear to be a regular stirrer or straw; what it does, however, is check whether your drink has been spiked with a date rape drug. This will tip users off to forget about the drink and the date, and make a beeline for the door.

Fernando Patolsky, co-creator for the device and a chemistry professor at Tel Aviv University, shared how the device works. “It samples a very small volume of the drink and mixes it with a testing solution… That causes a chemical reaction that makes the solution cloudy or colored, depending on the drug,” he shared. Users are alerted through a tiny red light, which turns on when a reaction does occur.

The scientists took pains to make the sensor fast and accurate, but very affordable, to ensure that it will eventually be possible for the everyday woman to own one. Patolsky said that it may cost less than a drink in the bar, and may be used several times, until it reacts with a drug. It can detect GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine, although the developers are working on having it detect Rohypnal, or “ruffies,” within the year.

Substance Abuse

Naval Academy Expels 16th Midshipman Over Spice Use

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The United States Naval Academy has expelled yet another midshipman, as a result of an investigation into the use of “spice,” also known as synthetic marijuana. The Navy banned the use of synthetic marijuana in March of 2010.

The latest midshipman to be expelled from the Academy was a male senior; academy spokeswoman Deborah Goode revealed that the midshipman was not allowed to graduate last May. No other details were released regarding the expelled midshipman, due to privacy concerns.

Midshipmen who are separated from the academy after two years or more are usually required to repay the cost of their education, or serve as an enlisted Sailor in the fleet.

The investigation was conducted by agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and it involved more than 30 interviews and about a dozen searches. When asked about it, NCIS spokesman Ed Buice commented that it would be “oversimplifying” to say that all the midshipmen who were expelled – sixteen in all – were part of the same group. He did hint at a connection between them, however, but said only that “Obviously, we found out about these individuals as part of the same investigation.”

Goode shared that all but one of the sixteen expelled midshipmen were male. There was one freshman, one senior, eight sophomores, and six juniors.

This expulsion also marked the closure of the investigation at the Naval Academy. It is not the only service academy, though, that had to deal with the use of designer drugs; as of early August, 25 cadets had either been expelled or had resigned from the Air Force Academy due to synthetic marijuana use.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Gilroy Police Seize Illegal Stash of Prescription Drugs, Heroin

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Officers from the Gilroy Police Department were able to seize more than 500 pills, as well as an undisclosed amount of heroin, from three suspects who were residents of Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

The Gilroy police responded to a report regarding suspicious people on the 8200 block of Arroyo Circle. They eventually found Gilroy resident David Lam, 28, and Morgan Hill residents Michael Gatch, 31, and Christopher Montarbo, 25, all of whom seemed to be intoxicated at the time of their arrest.

An investigation yielded several prescription receipts for narcotics, prescribed for various people; these included Hydrocodone, Alprazolam and Diazepam.

In a press release regarding the findings of the police, Police Sargeant Chad Gallacinao said: “The abuse of prescription medications / narcotics continues to rise… These medications, when used without a physician’s recommendation, could have severe adverse consequences.”

A search of a residence in the 1400 block of Amber Drive in Gilroy, as well as of a motel room in Morgan Hill, yielded more than 500 pills of narcotics, procured through illegal means, as well as heroin meant for selling. The police also found cash and stolen physician’s prescription pads, among other evidence, which are indicative of an illegal narcotics sales operation.

The Gilroy Police Department sought the assistance of residents who may have knowledge regarding this case. Anonymous tips may be coursed through WeTip at 1-800-782-7463 (1-800-78- Crime); those who choose to do so may get in touch with the Gilroy PD Anti-Crime Team (408-846-0350) or the Unified Narcotic Task Force (831-636-8622).